Most Russians have a negative attitude towards NATO. The prevailing opinion is that new countries joining NATO poses a threat to Russia. About half of the respondents admit that the conflict in Ukraine may escalate into a clash between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance. A third of respondents admit that in the event of a conflict with the West, Vladimir Putin may give the order to use nuclear weapons first.
7% of respondents have a positive attitude towards NATO, 82% — negatively. Compared to March, the attitude towards the North Atlantic Alliance has slightly deteriorated.
16% of young respondents aged 18-24 have a positive attitude towards NATO. The older respondents, except for the group of 25-39 years, have less than 10% of positive ratings: 6% in the group of 40-54 years, 4% in the group of 55 years and older.
The perception of the threat from the countries of the NATO bloc has returned to the level of March 2014: 60% of respondents believe that the Russian Federation has reason to fear these countries, slightly more than a third (35%) believe that there are no such reasons. At the same time, in November last year, the share of respondents who adhere to these points of view was approximately equal: 48% recognized Russia’s reasons to be afraid of NATO member countries, 44% did not see any.
The share of respondents who believe that NATO member countries have reason to fear Russia has sharply increased: if in November 2021 their share was 36%, then in May this year it was 60%. The current values are the maximum for the entire measurement time.
According to respondents, Ukraine’s joining NATO poses the greatest threat: 52% consider it a “serious threat” and another 19% a “mild threat”. Fewer respondents are concerned about Finland, Georgia or Sweden possibly joining NATO: about a third (30-34%) see this as a “serious threat” and up to a quarter (23-25%) as a “mild threat”.
About half (48%) of respondents believe that the situation in Ukraine could escalate into an armed conflict between Russia and NATO. It should be noted that in the spring of 2016, about 20% of respondents considered such a conflict possible. The greatest confidence in such a development of events today is represented among respondents aged 18-24: 60% believe it is possible. In the groups of 25-39 years and 40-54 years, half of the respondents believe in the likelihood of an armed conflict between NATO and the Russian Federation. Respondents 55 years and older are less likely to consider such a development of events.
About a third of respondents (34%) believe it is likely that Vladimir Putin, in the event of a war with the West, will be the first to give the order to use nuclear weapons: 10% consider it very likely, a quarter (24%) quite possible. 58% of respondents rather exclude such a possibility: 36% think it is unlikely, 22% – that it is completely out of the question. Compared to March 2015, the perception of the potential for such a development of the situation has changed slightly.
29% of respondents (those who rated their anxiety at 1 or 2 points) are not very afraid of the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons, half (those who rated it at 4 and 5 points) – it causes fear. In general, all age groups are dominated by those who are afraid of such an opportunity. Nevertheless, among respondents aged 40-54 and 55 years and older, the proportion (about 30%) of those who are not afraid of it is relatively higher.
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